Interviews and public information were used to establish the role of sympathizers in the continuation of the violent jihad. Sympathizers are indispensable in some respects, but in others, it is unnecessary or unfavorable for extremists to resort to them. This means that the role of sympathizers is smaller than assumed by many counterterrorist officials and academicians, but this is not because sympathizers are deterred by possible reprisals for their support. It is because assailants sometimes deliberately choose not to recourse to sympathizers. This means that the role of sympathizers does not solely depend on their partisanship and fear of retribution alone, but also on the strategic choices made by Muslim extremists. Their impact on the role of sympathizers in collective violence is neglected in both Donald Black’s ‘geometry of terrorism’ theory and Roger V. Gould’s rational choice theory of collective violence.

Additional Metadata
Keywords social change, social cohesion, sociology
JEL Sociology of Economics (jel A14)
Persistent URL
Mascini, P. (2006). Can the Violent Jihad Do Without Sympathizers?. Retrieved from